Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES


Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

85 Waterman Street
IBES administrative offices are in the newly renovated 85 Waterman Street building. Designed by Toshiko Mori Architects to achieve LEED Gold status, the better-than-new building incorporates many sustainability features in its design and construction, including an innovative rainwater re-use system, high efficiency lighting, heating and cooling systems, extra insulation, and many recycled construction and furnishing materials.

Encouraging collaboration was central to all elements of building design, with comfortable nooks and inviting gathering spaces tucked among crosscutting environmental science laboratories, faculty offices, and shared workspaces for undergrads, grad students, postdocs and visitors.

Laboratories housed in the building include:

EaRTH Lab (relocated from MacMillan Hall)

The Environmental And Remote TecHnologies Laboratory (EARTHLab) provides research and academic support to activities related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing analysis of agriculture, land use, and global change. This facility will be housed in the Institute, and offers diverse services including data access and archiving, software and hardware, and training and research support for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Climate and Development Lab

Brown’s Climate and Development Lab contributes timely, accessible, and impactful content that informs more just and effective global policy making on climate change. We have a multi-regional focus on the climate policies of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in Latin America, and in the US. During the three years that the Lab has been active, we have published ten policy reports on issues of equity and climate change financial flows, which have been cited widely by delegates in the UN climate change negotiations.

Marine Conservation Lab

Our research focuses on the complexity of interactions in coastal marine ecosystems, including the connections among ecological communities, environmental and social drivers, and human societies. Using a combination of field experiments, modeling, and synthesis, we investigate how environmental forcing influences ecological dynamics, and in turn, social interactions and outcomes. We apply this knowledge to advance marine conservation and management.

Conservation Science

We are interested broadly in conservation biology, with a special emphasis on understanding and preventing species extinctions. Most of our work is motivated by species invasions or climate change, but we also investigate the role of habitat loss, human exploitation and pathogens on species extinction. Our approach to advancing the theory, practice and policy of conservation is often unconventional.

Conservation Medicine

Our group studies the patterns and processes governing the distribution of pathogens and infectious diseases in humans and wildlife. We aim to advance the field of conservation medicine - a discipline that studies the linkages between environmental change, the health of all species, and the conservation of biodiversity. Using a combination of meta-analysis, theory and field research, we study the geographic distribution of human and wildlife diseases, the spread of pathogens via invasive species, and the role of disease in biological conservation. A major goal of our work is to ensure that our research is understood by and of value to society.

Remote Sensing Lab

The Brown Platform for Autonomous Remote Sensing (BPAR) brings together VNIR and SWIR imaging spectrometers with an airborne LiDAR sensor and methods from computer vision to characterize the structure, composition, and chemistry of natural landscapes in three dimensions at high spatial resolution from an autonomous helicopter remote sensing platform.

Greenhouse Conservatory

The Conservatory is approximately 2,000 square feet and includes many plant families: including a diverse collection of Cycads, Orchids, Aroids, and many plants from the Amazon region. Many of these plants have medicinal and ceremonial uses and are part of our Ethnobotanical collection. For more information on the conservatory, please visit the Plant Environmental Center page

MacMillan Hall

167 Thayer Street
MacMillan Hall houses shared research facilities, including sample preparation facilities, plant growth chambers, and a wide variety of precision analytical equipment for Environmental Analysis Lab. The equipment is routinely used by Environmental Studies, Geology, Ecology, Engineering, Bio-Med, and Chemistry students, post-docs, and other researchers with access and training provided by facilities director David Murray and his staff.

Urban Environmental Lab 

135 Angell Street
The 100 year-old carriage house, retrofitted with superinsulation, passive solar heating, and a solar greenhouse, integrates a community center and educational facility under one roof. Working in the building, using its resources, and sharing in the responsibility of maintaining it, students attain a degree of environmental consciousness and urban self-sufficiency that a textbook or lecture could never hope to convey.

UEL Community Garden

135 Angell Street
The Community Garden began in the summer of 1984 on the site of a former parking lot. Its purpose was to demonstrate how to maximize organic food production in a limited space. The project blossomed into a community gardening experience that welcomed gardeners from campus and community to manage 24 individual plots on 12 raised beds, as well as housing a unique collection of medicinal herbs, groundcovers, and native Rhode Island plants.

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